While waiting in my chiropractor’s office this morning, I came across an article in the July 2010 issue of Ohio Magazine called, “Canines of Comfort,” by Ohio author Jane Miller. The article related how Miller, a psychotherapist and licensed social worker, had been working with psychiatric service dogs to help abuse victims, veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and others with panic attacks, depression, or severe emotional disabilities lead better lives. The dogs allowed these people to have lives that were not ruled by their emotions, anxieties, or fears.
Service dogs have been used to help people with many physical disabilities, but this is a new field exploring how dogs can help people with emotional and psychiatric disabilities. The dogs provide comfort and acceptance and are trained to specifically help their owner with their specific disorder.
Most of us who have animals in our lives know firsthand how much pets can help when we are feeling unhappy or anxious. I often say that my cat, Oswald, absorbs all my stress from the day when I pick him up upon arriving home. Once his furry body is against me, all my negative energy dissipates. I have joked that his poor little body should be covered in warts and tumors from sucking up my bad emotions. But, Oswald, being the cat he is, takes it all in and makes it all good.
That is the power of our companion animals.